Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called upon all States to focus on eradicating weapons of mass destruction today, as the Security Council held a day-long open debate on the issue where speakers underscored the evolving threat of such weapons falling into the hands of non-State actors and terrorist groups.
Stating that “the disarmament agenda has stalled in several areas,” and expressing disappointment on a lack of progress on eliminating nuclear weapons, Mr. Ban urged the Council to show leadership and develop further initiatives to bring about a world free of weapons of mass destruction. “It is time to refocus seriously on nuclear disarmament,” he said, calling on all parties to embrace a spirit of compromise during the next review cycle of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons beginning in May 2017.
On biological weapons, Mr. Ban questioned the international community’s ability to prevent or respond to a biological attack. He also suggested giving a closer look at the nexus between emerging technologies — such as information and communication technologies, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing and synthetic biology — and weapons of mass destruction.
The Council heard from several experts on the issue, including Emmanuel Roux, Special Representative of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), who described how Al-Qaida, Aum Shinrikyo and other extremist groups had announced their intention — backed by attempts — to develop, acquire and deploy weapons of mass destruction against civilians. Citing examples, Mr. Roux recalled the case of a laptop, owned by a Tunisian student and seized in Syria in August 2014, which revealed a 19-page document on how to develop biological weapons and test them on mice. Technology once perceived as sensitive military-grade expertise was now available to broader audiences, he said, adding that a lack of coordination between agencies, ministries and States had created loopholes for terrorists to exploit.
Gregory Koblentz, Director of the Biodefense Graduate Programme at the Schar School of Policy and Government of George Mason University in the United States, drew attention to several new areas of concern, such as the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, 3-D printers and a part of the Internet called the Dark Web. He cited a growing risk that non-State actors could use malicious software to launch a cyberattack on a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear facility, saying: “We should not be just one click of the mouse away from a cyber Chernobyl.” Yet, new technologies had created opportunities to make it harder for non-State actors to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Drones, for instance, could be used by border security to detect such weapons, while biometrics and radio frequency identity chips could help improve security and inventory control, he said.
Kim Won-Soo, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) — currently the subject of a comprehensive review — had enabled the international community to make advances in addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors. A chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack would almost certainly constitute a complex international health emergency and in such an event, he said, the world would turn to the United Nations.
Leading the open debate, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and Minister for Home Affairs, who holds the Council presidency for August, said States should strengthen their respective law enforcement and national legislation by enacting effective export and trans-shipment controls. He recalled recent incidents concerning the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria and stockpiles controlled by terrorists in Libya, saying that such realities highlighted the dangers and threats non-State actors posed.
The representatives of Japan, Spain, Uruguay, France, the United Kingdom and the United States were among speakers voicing concern over nuclear weapons tests taken by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea despite Council resolutions and sanctions. Others mentioned the use of chlorine in the conflict in Syria, ahead of the expected release on 24 August of the findings of a joint investigation by the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), saying those responsible should be held accountable.
Egypt’s speaker expressed concern that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) could find their way to Libya. His counterpart from Angola, however, stated that, in Africa, small arms and light weapons were the real weapons of mass destruction.
On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran’s representative called for all weapons of mass destruction to be eliminated, but warned against Council actions undermining the Charter of the United Nations, multilateral treaties or the role of the General Assembly. He called nuclear disarmament Iran’s highest priority, but expressed concern over the development of new nuclear weapons as provided by the military and security doctrines of some States.
Also participating in the debate were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uruguay, New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal, China, Slovakia, Pakistan, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Guatemala, Singapore, Indonesia, Chile, Iraq, Morocco, Italy, Syria, Philippines, Canada, Belgium, Peru, Germany, Republic of Korea, Cuba, South Africa, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Israel, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Turkey, India, Australia, Viet Nam, Argentina, Poland, Slovenia, Nigeria and Algeria, as well as the European Union, Holy See, League of Arab States and the Organization of American States.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 5:25 p.m.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction was one of the most important obligations entrusted to the international community. Some comfort could be taken from such measures as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and such instruments as Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). “However, at a time when we face greater dangers than ever, the disarmament agenda has stalled in several areas,” he said, calling on all States to focus on eradicating weapons of mass destruction once and for all and to ensure — amid a changing environment — the universal and complete implementation of the disarmament and non-proliferation framework.
Recalling that the elimination of weapons of mass destruction was a founding principle of the United Nations, and the subject of the first General Assembly resolution, he said the need for urgent action had not diminished since he released a five-point proposal for a world free of nuclear weapons a year into his tenure as Secretary-General. The Council, for its part, had convened a historic summit on non-proliferation in 2009 and adopted resolution 1887 (2009) emphasizing its primary responsibility to address nuclear threats. However, the global context was more fluid and dangerous than ever, with vicious non-State actors which targeted civilians actively seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
It was thus disappointing that progress on eliminating nuclear weapons had descended into a fractious deadlock, with the return of some of the discredited arguments used to justify nuclear weapons during the cold war, he said. In such an environment, the global community expected the Council to show leadership, build on resolution 1887 (2009) and develop further initiatives to bring about a world free of weapons of mass destruction.
“It is time to refocus seriously on nuclear disarmament,” he said, noting that the open-ended working group on multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations had demonstrated that there were several possible approaches available. With the next review cycle of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to begin in May 2017, the Secretary-General called on all parties to address the issues that plagued the 2015 Review Conference in a spirit of compromise.
Moving on to biological weapons, Mr. Ban said that, in the wake of the Ebola, MERS and yellow fever outbreaks, he was extremely concerned that the international community was not adequately prepared to prevent or respond to a biological attack. The impact of such an attack on a civilian target could be worse than a chemical or radiological attack, yet investment in the international architecture to address such a threat was not commensurate with its possible effects, such as a multilateral prevention and verification agency specifically for biological weapons. Enhanced preparedness could be discussed at the upcoming Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference, he said, calling also on the Council to consider ways to strength resolution 1540 (2004) to ensure that non-State actors did not acquire such horrific weapons.
The nexus between emerging technologies — including information and communication technologies, artificial intelligence, 3-D printing and synthetic biology — and weapons of mass destruction required closer examination and action, he said. As a starting point, the international community needed to expand common ground for the peaceful use of cyberspace, including the intersection between cyberspace and critical infrastructure. People needed protection from online as well as physical attacks. Disarmament and non-proliferation instruments were only as successful as Member States’ capacity to implement them, he said, encouraging Council Members to come up with effective solutions to that end. In conclusion, Mr. Ban urged all Member States to recommit themselves to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. “The stakes are simply too high to ignore,” he said.
EMMANUEL ROUX, Special Representative of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), said Al-Qaida, Aum Shinrikyo and other extremist groups had announced their intention, backed by attempts, to develop, acquire and deploy weapons of mass destruction against civilians. The complex architecture of terrorist groups and their operational methods in a globalized world had impacted the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat, while the cross-border movement of foreign terrorist fighters had allowed them to reach out to a wider range of recruits.
Citing examples, he said a Da’esh laptop, owned by a Tunisian chemistry and physics student, seized in Syria in August 2014 had revealed a 19-page document on how to develop biological weapons, including bubonic plague, and instructions on how to test such weapons on mice. Investigations into the attacks in Brussels in March had shown that Da’esh operatives had been videotaping a senior Belgian nuclear scientist, an incident that had led to the evacuation of two nuclear power stations and reinforcement of security at all others.
He said there was increasing accessibility of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and technology, as actors had developed new combinations of materials and discovered new technological and scientific advances. Technology once perceived as sensitive military-grade expertise was now available to broader audiences. For example, researchers had created a SARS-like virus in a laboratory, prompting fears that terrorists could exploit such techniques to synthesize deadly viral agents. Also to blame was the complexity of controlling the transfer and dual use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials. Chlorine, a basic chemical freely available, was a common additive terrorists mixed with explosives in the Middle East and South-East Asia.
Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks had global implications, he said, making their prevention and containment almost impossible for one agency, ministry or country to manage alone. A lack of coordination had created loopholes that terrorists could exploit.
For its part, INTERPOL, in 2010, had launched a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism prevention and response effort to support its 190 member countries, he said, which focused exclusively on threats from non-State actors, which encompassed not only terrorist groups and lone wolves, but also suppliers, middlemen, buyers and smugglers of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials across borders. Its activities ranged from data analytics and multi-agency capacity-building to training to regional and cross-border field operations.
In addition, INTERPOL helped international law enforcement to track cross-border movements of those involved in illicit trafficking of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials, giving national police, including those at border points, access to its databases. In that context, he cited INTERPOL’s chemical anti-smuggling enforcement operation, which increased the capacity of police, customs, border, immigration and security agencies to work together. The organization also had established close ties with United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs.
He concluded by saying that resolution 1540 (2004) should continue to provide the umbrella under which initiatives were launched and through which countries’ needs could be met by matching them to assistance providers. The global multi-agency architecture to combat the threat of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism required stronger shared political will, greater coordination among international stakeholders and more financial support. Systematic use of INTERPOL’s analytical and operational capabilities also would help intercept criminals.
GREGORY KOBLETNTZ, Director, Biodefense Graduate Programme, Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, said resolution 1540 (2004) was among the most important tools for preventing non-State actors from acquiring chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. Over the past 12 years, advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing, big data, nanotechnology, gene editing and synthetic biology had shown that the ability to create and manipulate objects in the physical world, and in cyberspace, was unparalleled in human history.
The combination of those technologies had led the World Economic Forum to declare last year the beginning of the “fourth Industrial Revolution”, he said, characterized by its global scope, exponential rate of innovation and convergence of physical, digital and biological worlds. However, such breakthroughs could be misused by non-State actors. “It would be far preferable to predict how these emerging technologies could be misused and take steps to minimize that risk,” he said.
The first area of concern was around unmanned aerial vehicles, he said, noting that terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) already used them. The ability of those vehicles to collect intelligence on highly secure facilities created new proliferation risks. In the future, they could be turned into improvised explosive devices to target nuclear facilities or industrial chemical storage sites, or deliver weapons of mass destruction.
Another concern was around 3-D printers that “printed” physical objects layer by layer using “inks” or materials, such as plastic and metal, he said. Some anticipated a $30 billion market for the technology by 2022, as amateurs had already used it to produce plastic guns that evaded X-ray detection. If a non-State actor was unable to buy a controlled item, they could likely make it with a 3-D printer. In addition, terrorists interested in acquiring chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials were turning to a part of the Internet called the Dark Web, using software that hid the user’s identity and location.
In 2014, he said, the United States had arrested two people for selling ricin and abrin to customers in North America, Europe and Asia, noting that ricin was a Schedule I chemical weapon by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Most such markets relied on digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, with encrypted transactions that provided anonymity to the buyer and seller. There was also growing risk that non-State actors could use malicious software to launch a cyberattack on a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear facility. The Nuclear Threat Initiative had found that 20 countries with weapon-usable fissile material or nuclear power plants did not meet the most basic cybersecurity requirements. “We should not be just one click of the mouse away from a cyber Chernobyl,” he said.
Describing the technology traits that posed a challenge to the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), he said such technologies were dual-use and disruptive, powerful enough to transform existing industries and scientific fields, and because of that, sought after by non-governmental organizations, corporations and Governments. They could be diffused further and faster than ever and relied, to some degree, on a digital component, which made controlling them difficult. Rather than being concentrated in the West, they were distributed to a diverse group of nations and required a lower level of expertise to use than other technologies. The rise of do-it-yourself movements had seen an increase of those dedicated to unmanned aerial vehicles, 3-D printing and synthetic biology.
At the same time, such technologies presented opportunities to make it more difficult for non-State actors to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons, he said, noting that unmanned aerial and ground vehicles could be used by border security to detect such weapons, while biometrics and radio frequency identity chips could be used to improve security and inventory control. Big data could improve export controls, while sensors could detect weapons production, transport or use.
KIM WON-SOO, Under-Secretary-General, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said resolution 1540 (2004) had enabled the international community to make advances in addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors, including through better reporting, adding or reinforcing legislation, regional cooperation and national action plans. Further, the Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons had responded to allegations of chemical weapons use. He hoped the United Nations-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Joint Investigative Mechanism, when it submits the report to the Council on 24 August, would fulfil its mandate to identify the perpetrators of those horrific acts, while the Nuclear Security Summit process had raised awareness of the dangers posed by nuclear and radiological terrorism.
The international community was not yet prepared to address the full scope of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, he said, citing significant gaps in a number of areas. Biological threats and risks must be examined. Amid reports of terrorist groups seeking to acquire biological materials, States must ensure that the investment in preventing biological incidents was commensurate with the threat and risk. Both the 1540 Comprehensive Review and the Biological Weapons Convention Review Conference in November offered opportunities to consider how to strengthen those instruments.
He also drew attention to how the international community should respond if prevention failed, noting that a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack would almost certainly constitute a complex international health emergency, requiring the coordination and deployment of a range of agencies at national, regional and multilateral levels.
In such an event, the world would turn to the United Nations, he said. The Organization had made some progress in developing investigative mechanisms. However, any international response would need to go beyond an investigation, an issue that must be considered. The best way to reduce the risk of a non-State actor using a weapon of mass destruction was through their complete and irreversible elimination. Achieving a world free of weapons of mass destruction was a collective responsibility. Overcoming divisions required inclusive dialogue, commitment, flexibility and creativity by all States.
AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs for Malaysia, associating himself with the statement from the Non-Aligned Movement, said that States should strengthen their respective law enforcement and national legislation with regard to weapons of mass destruction by enacting effective export and trans-shipment controls. He recalled recent incidents concerning the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria, as well as the chemical stockpiles controlled by terrorists in Libya, saying that such realities highlighted the dangers and threats posed by non-State actors to peace and security. Geopolitical considerations compounded preventive or remedial efforts by the United Nations and the international community at-large in addressing the challenges posted by weapons of mass destruction proliferation and their use by non-State actors.
KIYOSHI ADAWARA (Japan) recalled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear test in January and its series of ballistic missile launches, which he said were blatant violations of Security Council resolutions and posed a clear challenge to the global non-proliferation regime. It must be recognized that the global situation had dramatically changed since resolution 1540 (2004) was adopted, including an increased risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction due to globalization. Export and border control were essential for preventing and detecting proliferation activities. The 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts must be given a mandate to propose and initiate dialogue with States requesting technical assistance in a more proactive manner to better mediate agreements between donor and recipient countries.
JUAN MANUEL GONZÁLEZ DE LINARES PALOU (Spain) said the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction had not decreased, as proven by the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the use of chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. The globalization of commercial, logistical and economic transactions made it harder for States to control proliferation activities and could enable terrorists to take advantage of transnational criminal networks to gain access to weapons of mass destruction. Noting that the risks and challenges brought about by advances in science and technology developed at a quicker pace than Governments’ ability to respond, he said the use drones as a means of delivery of weapons of mass destruction was a particular challenge. More reflection was needed on the fact that export control regimes, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime did not cover them. In that regard, the Council should consider setting up a unified database on nuclear and chemical incidents. Warning that internal instability and conflict situations were a breeding ground for proliferation by terrorist groups, he stressed that “now is the time to act” to strengthen the international non-proliferation order. Among other things, it would be worth reflecting on how to incorporate investigative powers into such efforts.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said resolution 1540 (2004) was a reliable bulwark for preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors. While it required no radical changes, new responses were needed to address new challenges. It was unacceptable for non-State actors to get help in obtaining weapons of mass destruction. The capacities of regional and international organizations needed to be harnessed, as well as the participation of the business and academic communities. There had been reports of ISIL and others seeking industrial chemicals and military toxins. The threat of biological and conventional terrorism was growing, but resolution 1540 (2004) was insufficient in that regard. A new convention might combine elements agreed by the international community in the last few years. Clearly the conventional concept of arms control was diluting, with the topic acquiring new shapes and dimensions, mainly anti-terrorist ones.
JULIO HELDER MOURA LUCAS (Angola) expressed strong concern over ongoing challenges and conflicts in Africa and elsewhere. The real issue in contemporary conflicts was that weapons were easy and cheap to get. In Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, small arms and light weapons were the real weapons of mass destruction. Measure to address the trafficking and supply of such weapons to non-State actors should be strengthened and the definition of non-State actor in resolution 1540 (2004) should be broadened. Angola, a State party to major international instruments regarding weapons of mass destruction, was devising legislation and institutions to more effectively implement its obligations. Effective implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) must be coupled with conflict resolution and addressing root causes of terrorism.
YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine), noting that his country had a nuclear weapons past and was a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, said it was committed to implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) and did its utmost to prevent non-State actors from acquiring such materials. Risks stemmed from poor national legislation and rapid development of technology. International legal prohibitions had little relevance to terrorists, who could engage in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. Breaches of international law had weakened the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear architecture. He supported intensified efforts to enhance cooperation among States and international, regional, subregional and non-Governmental organizations, as well as efforts to strengthen resolution 1540 (2004), such as the 1540 Group of Friends. Implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) was threatened by a 1540 Committee member, he said, noting that the Russian Federation had carried out military aggression and invaded nuclear sites based in the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. By providing weapons and financing to terrorist groups, the Russian Federation had violated its 1540 obligations. Such actions threatened the non-proliferation regime.
LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) said that, as a non-nuclear-weapon State, his country was committed to strengthening the non-proliferation and disarmament regime. It had signed and ratified the majority of related treaties and was up to date with its reporting obligations. It also had provided information to the United Nations counter-terrorism committees promoted the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, including in Latin America and the Caribbean. He encouraged all efforts to achieve nuclear non-proliferation and said political priority should be given to negotiations that would lead to a legally binding instrument on negative security guarantees. All States should respect their arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation commitments, he said, condemning launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and advocating denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He voiced concern about non-State actors possibly acquiring and using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons and their materials, noting that the use of chemical weapons in the Middle East had shown how dangerous that threat could be. International response measures should be taken. Cooperation between the 1540 Committee and regional, subregional and other organizations would help States implement that instrument.
PHILLIP TAULA (New Zealand) said the resolution 1540 (2004) framework must remain capable of meeting emerging threats and implementation challenges. Support must be given to prioritize the work of the 1540 Committee and Group of Experts on issues and regions of identified risk, vulnerability and need. The Expert Group should be empowered to identify and ask States to propose country visits, taking a flexible approach to engaging them with low-risk profiles and ensuring that compliance burdens were both necessary and realistic, particularly for small States. The imposition of new obligations should be limited. As well, there was little value in imposing additional reporting requirements or new universal legal obligations for small States. Support in areas such as counter-terrorism could help those States meet their obligations. He urged a review of whether the composition of the Expert Group was adequate to help small States develop clear requests for support. He also saw merit in considering how the Council could support States to monitor, investigate and report possible chemical weapons activities by non-State actors within their jurisdiction.
IHAB MOUSTAFA AWAD MOUSTAFA (Egypt) said there was a growing risk of terrorist groups and non-State actors, especially in the Middle East, acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Such a disaster scenario needed to be prevented at all costs. Chemical weapons used by Da’esh and others had caused destruction in Iraq, and possibly also in Syria. They could spread in turn to Libya and from there to the Horn of Africa. The fact that terrorists knew how to make such weapons and cross borders represented a threat to the region and the world at large. The review of resolution 1540 (2004) led by Spain should focus on ways to strengthen cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations, including technical assistance and capacity-building. The best way to guarantee that terrorists did not get weapons of mass destruction was simply to eliminate such weapons, he concluded, calling on the international community to create a zone free of such weapons in the Middle East for the good of mankind.
WILMER ALFONZO MÉNDEZ GRATEROL (Venezuela) said terrorist groups such as ISIL had shown their ability to recruit individuals who could develop weapons of mass destruction programmes. Advances in science, technology and international trade had changed traditional patterns of proliferation. The 1540 Committee had a role to play, but its resources and capacities were limited. He called for a road map leading to nuclear disarmament, saying that, 50 years after the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and with the end of the cold war, there were still 20,000 nuclear warheads available for use. Putting that Treaty into force was seriously stalled and nuclear-weapon States did not want to eliminate nuclear warheads. If it was possible to bring about nuclear disarmament, then the issue of weapons of mass destruction among non-State actors could be confronted.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the crisis in the non-proliferation regime and resumed arms races must be addressed in a global context. During official consultations in June, it had been decided that strategies should be redirected towards a more coordinated approach aimed at meeting non-proliferation challenges. He hoped that measures proposed by States would be executed to facilitate implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). He advocated national legal steps — especially for biological weapons — improving internal mechanisms for control of sensitive materials and technologies, and implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) by African Union member States, urging consolidation of efforts between the 1540 Committee and African States. Progress could be made to improve assistance procedures and in determining and analysing needs. That required enhancing the capacity of the 1540 Committee and its Expert Group. He also supported the creation of mechanisms to improve cooperation between those States requesting and providing assistance. Senegal was a party to most counter-terrorism conventions and it supported creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in western Africa. He cited the nuclear security and radiological protection law, as well as another being written to address biological weapons.
ALEX LAMEK (France) said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had conducted its fourth nuclear test and a number of ballistic missile launches, each time improving the technologies required to make nuclear weapons. Such actions challenged the non-proliferation regime. In Syria, allegations of chemical weapons use had been heard from the start of the conflict, with attacks on 1 and 10 August killing one woman and two children. He looked forward to the Joint Investigative Mechanism report and pressed the Council to take measures required by resolution 2118 (2013). Perpetrators would be held to account. The majority of countries had adopted measures to inscribe the provisions of resolution 1540 (2004) into national legislation and the world had been vigilant in preventing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials from falling into the hands of non-State actors. France coordinated the 1540 Committee’s working group on assistance, an essential tier in the Committee’s work aimed at developing countries. He supported the Committee’s operational role and matching offers with requests for assistance. The security of radioactive sources should be enhanced, including highly radioactive sealed sources.
MICHELLE SISON (United States) said important gaps remained in implementing resolution 1540 (2004), but through combined efforts, it could be effective in clamping down on evolving threats. Recalling the third anniversary on 22 August of the Ghouta chemical weapons attack, she said the Assad regime in Syria had repeatedly used chlorine against the Syrian people and it appeared that such attacks were continuing. She looked forward to the final report of the Joint Investigative Mechanism this month, saying those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria must be held accountable. Meanwhile, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had ignored the Council’s repeated calls to stop nuclear weapons tests, which threatened international peace and security. However, she added, when Member States were united and determined, it was possible to make progress on non-proliferation. To combat the threat of chemical weapons by Da’esh, the existing international framework — including the Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention, Terrorist Bombing Convention, as well as resolution 1540 (2004) — needed to be applied. Proposals for a new convention on chemical and biological terrorism were misleading, however, and founded on the false premise that there were legal gaps in the existing international framework.
LIU JIEYI (China) said that, despite a growing international consensus on non-proliferation, grave challenges remained, with certain “hot spot issues” defying easy solutions. Universality on norms had yet to be achieved and there was an increased risk of non-State actors, in particular terrorists, acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Some countries felt more and more threatened, raising in turn the risk of proliferation. Setting out a number of proposals, he called for cold war thinking to be rejected in favour of a new concept of cooperative and sustainable security. The international non-proliferation regime should be strengthened, with an adherence to multilateralism. “Hot spot issues” should be properly handled, he said, citing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the need to avoid provocative actions. Steady implementation of the joint plan of action regarding the Iranian issue would ensure far-reaching results. Nuclear-weapon States should earnestly fulfil their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Finally, fresh impetus should be given to resolution 1540 (2004) with a comprehensive review focusing on non-State actors. China supported the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones and the convening of a conference to that end in the Middle East.
NAME TO COME (United Kingdom) said preventing weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors required close cooperation among States, civil society and industry. The full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) required passing laws, securing borders and safeguarding sensitive materials. Since 2010, there had been a 17 per cent increase in non-proliferation measures taken by States worldwide. He urged working towards universal fulfillment of obligations, noting that some regions were further from full implementation than others and that the biological sector was lagging, with 10 per cent fewer measures taken than in the nuclear sector, facts that should shape the next steps. The United Kingdom looked forward to examining progress by year-end on ensuring analysis in how resolution 1540 (2004) was being implemented; exploring how it could be more effectively implemented in light of new challenges; strengthening the matching of requests and assistance; and revisiting the mandate of the Committee and its expert group to ensure they had the human and financial resources required. His Government would review the Joint Investigative Mechanism report, which would be a first step towards international justice for possible weapons of mass destruction use in Syria. He condemned nuclear and missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
VLADIMIR SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, said his Ukrainian counterpart had tried to devalue today’s discussion by making accusations against the Russian Federation, a classic attempt to justify its own actions and claims that it was not responsible. The Ukrainian party had diverted itself from implementing the Minsk Agreement and counted on a military solution to an internal Ukrainian problem.
Mr. VITRENKO (Ukraine) said he would not engage in a debate about facts which were clear to all except the aggressor State. He stood by his statement, noting that threats to the non-proliferation regime stemmed from Russian aggression against Ukraine, with its illegal annexation of Crimea and fomenting of aggression in the eastern part of his country.
MIROSLAV LAJČÁK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, said preventing non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction could not be achieved by a single country alone. “We are only as strong as our weakest link,” he said, calling for the adjustment and improvement of the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Countries having difficulties with their national implementation and reporting should have access to adequate assistance, with regional expertise and capacities made available to them. It was crucial to take hold of the rapid developments and breakthroughs in science, technology, finance and commerce, especially as non-State actors exploited new technologies to pursue their illicit activities. It was necessary to keep national export control mechanisms up to date and dedicate enough financial and personal capacities, as well as to reach out to civil society to raise awareness and create a true partnership to prevent the proliferation of sensitive items to non-State actors.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the global disarmament landscape presented a gloomy picture due to the lack of progress by States with nuclear weapons in fulfilling their disarmament obligations. As disarmament and non-proliferation were linked, it was unrealistic to expect progress on one without movement on the other. A challenge to non-proliferation norms was the granting of discriminatory waivers, special arrangements which denoted double standards and opened the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful use to military purposes. Improved match-making by the 1540 Committee was imperative. The success of resolution 1540 (2004) owed less to its Chapter VII provisions than to its cooperative approach to implementation. Differences in State capacities, such as legal and regulatory gaps and the lack of effective export control mechanisms, compounded challenges to addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan had implemented a comprehensive export control regime, taken exemplary measures to enhance nuclear safety, participated in the Nuclear Security Summit process and ratified the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, all of which established its eligibility to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It expected that a non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach would be followed for extending such membership.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed grave concern over the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and called for their total elimination. Relevant actions by the Security Council must not undermine the Charter and existing multilateral treaties, as well as the role of the General Assembly. He further cautioned against the Council’s continuing practice of utilizing its authority to define the legislative requirements for Member States in implementing Council decisions. Nuclear disarmament remained Iran’s highest priority. He expressed deep concern over the slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament and the lack of progress by nuclear-weapon States to fully eliminate their nuclear arsenals. He expressed further concern over improvement in existing nuclear weapons and the development of new ones, as provided for in the military and security doctrines of some States, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Alliance Strategic Concept, and called on such States to exclude the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons from their doctrines.
Reiterating the Movement’s full support for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, he called on Israel – the only country in the region that had not yet joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty – to renounce possession of nuclear weapons, to accede to the Treaty without precondition or further delay and to place its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The adoption of measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction must not be used as a pretext or leverage to impose restrictions on exports to developing countries of material, equipment of technology for peaceful purposes.
CLAUDIA YURIRIA GARCÍA GUIZA (Mexico) reaffirmed her country’s unwavering and long-standing commitment to complete nuclear disarmament and to resolution 1540 (2004). Mexico was pushing for the comprehensive review of that resolution to strengthen the 1540 regime and to deliver a work plan in that field. Security in the twenty-first century needed to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, and strict controls for dual-use materials were needed. In addition, it was vital that the Biological Weapons Convention established synergies with other mechanisms and take the lead on sustainable public policies, thereby preventing such materials from falling into the wrong hands. Recalling that chemical weapons had been used in Syria, she said there was a need for greater control and coordination by States parties to prevent non-State actors from gaining access to biological materials and toxic substances. The evolution and adaptation of terrorist groups and their efforts to circumvent non-proliferation efforts underscored the need to address the root causes of terrorism. The United Nations Counterterrorism Strategy could help to prevent and combat that scourge in a holistic way, but a general convention on terrorism should also be established.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) said nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and nuclear security were the main foreign policy priorities for his country. The more secure countries felt, the more likely they would be to abandon weapons. Serious attention should be paid to the control of the transfer of technologies to produce means of delivery for weapons of mass destruction. All nations needed to improve coordination of policies, export control and interoperability of States to prevent, detect, assess, respond and mitigate the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. The establishment of nuclear-weapons-free zones would strengthen global nuclear non-proliferation. In that regard, his country supported a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.
OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala) recalled that resolution 1540 (2004) played an important role within the international non-proliferation regime. In the current, complex international context, it was vital that all Member States fulfil their obligations to prevent the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related materials and prevent their acquisition by non-State actors. The universal comprehensive application of the resolution would only be possible if all Member States played a central role and if the 1540 Committee completely fulfilled its role and mandate. It was vital that the review process be broad, transparent and inclusive with a view towards identifying successes and also shortcomings and gaps. The Committee should consider going beyond its current functioning to find means to play a more direct role, including by facilitating assistance to States. Regional centres had a key role to play to help those States that requested assistance to establish national action plans, modify legislation and create capacities in relevant Government bodies.
BURHANUDEEN GAFOOR (Singapore), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, urged strengthening national legislation to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly to non-State actors. Singapore had taken a “whole-of-Government” approach to such issues. It had upgraded radiation screening technology at its ports, tightened its export control regime, and regularly updated export controls lists to ensure its system was in line with international practice. Its financial institutions and non-financial gatekeepers were regularly subject to review. He also urged enhancing intra-regional cooperation to build capacity and prevent loopholes in the counter-proliferation framework. Noting that Singapore participated at Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum meetings, he also advocated greater international efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. His country had hosted two Proliferation Security Initiative exercises and looked forward to hosting a third in September. It also had adopted the Financial Action Task Force recommendations to combat proliferation financing.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern that some States continued to shirk their responsibilities by retaining weapons of mass destruction or took refuge under nuclear security umbrellas. While resolution 1540 (2004) was essential, non-proliferation was one side of the coin whose other side was complete disarmament. The flawed concept of “nuclear haves” and “have-nots” was morally indefensible, and as long as it existed proliferation risks would remain. Warning that the issue of acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by non-State groups must be considered by all Member States in an inclusive manner, and that action, in that respect, should flow from multilateral negotiated treaties, he said that States must not allow any space within their territory where terrorists could engage in despicable activities. Describing various national laws and programmes in line with resolution 1540 (2004), as well as his country’s participation in ASEAN forums on export control and non-proliferation, he reiterated the significance of capacity-building and cooperation regarding various elements of the resolution.
CARLOS OLGUÍN CIGARROA (Chile) welcomed a recommendation, made by the Open-Ended Working Group to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons, to start talks on a legally binding instrument banning nuclear weapons. The dual threat of use of biological knowledge, global health emergencies and the possible use of toxin agents by non-State actors called for the urgent creation of a verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention, he said, adding that States must redouble their efforts to meet the obligations of resolution 1540 (2004). In conjunction with the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) and the Office of Disarmament Affairs, Chile was organizing the first training course version for focal points in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, Chile would join Argentina in organizing the second version of a bilateral exercise on radiation safety border in 2017 and was completing procedures to join the Wassenaar Arrangement in order to improve its standards of imports and exports of military and dual-use material.
MOHAMED ALI ALHAKIM (Iraq) said access to weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups was one of the foremost dangers to international peace and security. The international community’s common responsibility required the establishment of an effective international framework that prevented the dual use of nuclear material or access to such materials by non-State parties. Resolution 1540 (2004) was the most effective mean to address the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. Iraq had adhered to all international treaties and agreements, as well as the relevant conventions, agreements, protocols and resolutions on terrorism. Further, Iraq had taken the necessary steps to prevent any deviation from the peaceful use of nuclear materials and had adhered to its commitments under international instruments. In view of the increasing terrorist threat and the risk of terrorist organizations gaining access to and using weapons of mass destruction, Iraq called for greater international and regional cooperation to limit such threats and fully eliminate them through increased technical assistance and capabilities.
IONNIS VRAILAS of the European Union delegation expressed grave concern over the possibility of non-State actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction. All States that had not done so must become party to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and other relevant instruments. In June, the European Union had submitted a report on its implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), which had detailed a number of the bloc’s initiatives in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risk mitigation and other areas. The 1540 Committee’s process for matching requests with offers of assistance should be improved, and the Committee should have the technical, human and financial resources it needed to effectively fulfil its responsibilities. Given the long-term nature of proliferation challenges, the Committee should be given a permanent or longer-term mandate. Underscoring the need to reach out to the private sector and civil society — including by encouraging companies to set up internal compliance programmes, encouraging cooperation between Government and industry and addressing the challenges posed by cross-border supply chains — he said the future development of resolution 1540 (2004) should take into account new and emerging trends in nuclear, chemical and biological security. As a result of this year’s Comprehensive Review, the Council should restate its support for the resolution’s full implementation, including potentially through a further resolution.
AHMED FATHALLA, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, expressed disappointment over the failure of the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, which had been prompted by the desire to uphold the interests of one State. Warning that some nuclear-weapon States were modernizing their arsenals, and stressing that the role of such weapons must be reduced in national security policies, he recalled that all Arab States were parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The gravest danger was the acquisition and use of nuclear weapons by non-State actors; the aim was not simply non-proliferation, but complete disarmament. The situation on the ground in the Middle East could not be used as a pretext for double standards. The depositors of the Non-Proliferation Treaty must assume their responsibilities in implementing the resolution on the Middle East by pressuring Israel to ratify the treaty and place all its nuclear materials under IAEA safeguards. A regional balance was needed, and it could not be based on the presence of weapons of mass destruction.
GONZALO KONCKE, Permanent Observer of the Organization of American States, described his organization’s efforts to create a regional coordination model for non-proliferation. Noting that one of the most important elements of resolution 1540 (2004) dealt with the export of dual-use materials and technologies, he said the Latin American and Caribbean region was promoting a strong control system, as well as a safe environment for trade and investment. States, international organizations, the private sector and other relevant actors shared the responsibility of preventing non-State actors from acquiring dual-use materials. Since 2014, the organization had been promoting the development and implementation of national action plans to complement national architecture in place to prevent proliferation. Indeed, cooperation by regional organizations was essential to help combat proliferation and terrorism.
ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern about the threat posed by terrorism and the risk of non-State actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction. Terrorism threatened the stability and territorial integrity of States. It was a real threat that called for the full and universal implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Morocco strictly fulfilled its responsibilities under international agreements and had pursued greater capacities through training, practical exercises and the exchange of best practices. Morocco had always worked closely with the 1540 Committee and underscored the need for international cooperation and greater collaboration to help States increase their capacities, particularly those in Africa. Without greater regional and international cooperation, national initiatives would fall short.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, said all Member States, international organizations and institutions should constantly update their response to the risks posed by non-State actors by improving transfer controls for sensitive materials and enhancing the role of information and communication technology and social media in countering terrorist narratives. In 2015, Italy had deposited the instrument of ratification for the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, and it had made significant progress on the ratification of the Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. Calling for enhanced cooperation between Member States and the 1540 Committee, as well as for improved education, training and institutional capacity-building, he said States that had not yet done so should submit their first national reports on the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). Among other things, he also called for the active involvement of all stakeholders and the use of strong border controls.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said that some of the efforts made under resolution 1540 (2004) had succeeded in creating positive outcomes, yet there were serious shortcoming and gaps exploited by terrorist groups to obtain weapons of mass destruction and use them to achieve their goals. Some Member States had provided terrorist groups with weapons of mass destruction or their raw materials. Serious violations of resolution 1540 (2004) were a reality in Syria, where terrorist groups had used chemical weapons against civilians and the military. Those terrorist groups had been supported by Arab and regional countries, as well as the intelligence agencies of some other States. On 13 June, terrorist groups in the region launched a chemical weapon against a number of Syrian soldiers. Some countries were aiding terrorist organizations by supplying them with weapons, financing, cover and logistic support, which extended the crisis at any cost. His Government had provided information on terrorist groups in Syria through dozens of official letters to various United Nations entities, and also provided information on how some Governments were supporting terrorism in the country. Nevertheless, the Security Council had taken no steps to assume its responsibilities.
LOURDES ORTIZ YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was imperative to remain focused on ridding the world of weapons of mass destruction. While great strides had been made with the adoption of resolution 1540 (2004) and initiatives such as the Nuclear Security Summit Process, the changing face of conflict required tougher measures and stronger cooperation to guarantee each State’s implementation. He welcomed the open consultations on the Comprehensive Review of the Status of Implementation of Resolution 1540 (2004) and looked forward to its outcome in December, noting that national action plans were vital for preparing States to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. His country’s national action plan aimed to reduce the threat of and damage from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidence of accidental, natural and intentional origin. It had recently signed into law a bill to prevent the proliferation of such weapons in its territory.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS GRANT (Canada) said more must be done to ensure that resolution 1540 (2004) was fully implemented by all Member States and adapted to emerging challenges. Canada was strongly committed to maintaining its own robust domestic regime and providing international assistance. Full implementation of the conventions on biological and chemical weapons would greatly help to prevent non-State actors from obtaining them. Canada was committed to progressive and pragmatic efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, draw down stockpiles and eliminate them verifiably and irreversibly. Negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty should begin as soon as possible.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), associating himself with the European Union and speaking as a member of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), called for the text’s full and complete implementation by all States. Measures aimed at that implementation continued to come up short, he warned, calling for all actors to work together to establish synergies and avoid duplication. Welcoming the General Assembly’s adoption of the United Nations Counterterrorism Strategy, he said that raising awareness among the private sector and civil society were essential. For its part, Belgium had begun to raise such awareness in academic and research institutions. Hailing the Council’s adoption of resolution 2298 (2016) on chemical weapons in Libya, he underscored the need to better address the issues of export controls and trafficking. Belgium was a proponent of the concept of peer review, and it had joined the other Benelux countries in conducting such a mechanism in 2015.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) recalled that the international community had been promoting a non-proliferation regime since the founding of the United Nations. Resolution 1540 (2004) — which aimed to prevent terrorists from gaining access to nuclear weapons — had represented a historic milestone in that regime, he said, noting that Peru had co-sponsored that important resolution. The country was also committed to efforts aimed at the total disarmament of nuclear and biological weapons, and supported the development of legally binding instruments in that area. Peru had adopted border controls, customs controls and maritime measures, and put in place intelligence efforts aimed at non-proliferation. Calling on all Member States to support efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery or related technology, he stressed that the maintenance of international peace and security required the participation of the entire international community. All Member States must step up their efforts in that regard.
HEIKO THOMS (Germany) said the risk of non-State actors acquiring, developing, trafficking or using weapons of mass destruction remained high. That risk could quickly become a reality, as demonstrated by the use of chemical weapons by Da’esh in Syria and Iraq. Urging all States to continue to work towards the full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) and stressing that the involvement of the private sector was also vital for successful non-proliferation efforts, he recalled that Germany had initiated the Wiesbaden process in 2011 in order to help industry representatives share best practices in export control and compliance. On a broader scope, it was crucial to raise awareness of illegal procurement activities and dual-use risks among enterprises in the biotechnology and chemical industries.
DAVID CARROLL, an observer of the Holy See, said that any act, any weapon that aimed indiscriminately to destroy cities and their inhabitants were against all international humanitarian law and demanded condemnation. While treaties and conventions had been reached to ban chemical and biological weapons and prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, human genius continued to invent new ways of annihilating itself. Technological advances meant that conventional weapons were more powerful than ever before. Military forces, rebels, terrorists and extremist groups used with greater frequency ever more powerful conventional weapons, showing no regard for human life. Humanitarian disasters continued to unfold, resulting in schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure being destroyed through the use of conventional weapons. The Holy See had repeatedly called on weapons-producing countries of the world to limit the manufacture and sale of weapons to unstable countries and regions of the world, he said.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) said that, since its adoption, resolution 1540 (2004) had been an important part of the global security architecture. Yet, the resolution could and should play a greater role in the face of daunting challenges. Rapid scientific and technological advances had increased the accessibility of weapons of mass destruction. The international community must further cement partnerships with regional and international organizations, academia and civil society. Industry could play an essential role in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly as it was often at the front line of dealing with sensitive and dual-used items. The 1540 Committee’s role in providing assistance to Member States must be enhanced. There also needed to be a more coordinated and holistic approach to countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he said.
RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said the possibility of attacks using nuclear, chemical or biological weapons could not be ignored or addressed through a selective approach. Underscoring Cuba’s opposition to measures aimed at curtailing the legitimate rights of States to use nuclear and related materials for peaceful purposes, she expressed regret at the lack of political will on the part of certain nuclear-weapon States and those protected by the so-called “nuclear umbrella” to fulfil their international obligations. Indeed, plans had been rolled out to modernize nuclear arsenals. In Cuba, all programmes related to nuclear, chemical and biological spheres were entirely peaceful and had been developed purely for the purpose of the country’s socioeconomic development. Resolution 1540 (2004) should include a reference to the pressing need for complete and total disarmament. It should underline between non-proliferation and disarmament. The Council’s actions should never undermine existing multilateral treaties in those areas, nor the role of the General Assembly.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, despite significant progress in eliminating biological and chemical weapons, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction yet to be globally prohibited, as Article VI obligations and commitments made in 1995, 2000 and 2010 under the Non-Proliferation Treaty had not been implemented. Efforts between the Russian Federation and the United States were not a substitute for nuclear disarmament measures that met the criteria of transparency, irreversibility and verifiability. Gains must not be offset by the modernization of nuclear arsenals or arguments seeking indefinite retention. The lack of progress of nuclear-weapon States towards eliminating their weapons and the stalemate in disarmament forums, raised questions about the regime’s credibility, he said, citing in particular the lack of progress on the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. South Africa was committed to universalizing biological and chemical weapons instruments, and implementing all legally binding obligations. To prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, it was committed to strengthening transfer controls, recognizing that States without the resources to carry out their obligations needed cooperation. He advocated enhanced national legislation and capacity-building, among other measures.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, said the prevention of nuclear and radiological terrorism was among his country’s top priorities. His Government had taken part in the Nuclear Security Summit process, which had helped to reduce the amount of weapons-useable nuclear material in circulation, strengthening the international nuclear security architecture and enhancing cooperation. The Netherlands was currently the international coordinator for the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which had been instrumental in enhancing national capabilities through cooperation to prevent, detect and respond to nuclear terrorism. A robust network of political, judicial, intelligence and technical experts had been established. Collaboration within and across Governments must be enhanced, with industry and civil society equally essential to such efforts. Underlining his country’s commitment to resolution 1540 (2004), he said enhancing implementation required enforcing national laws and regulations for law enforcement, export controls, physical protection and control of financial channels used by non-State actors to proliferate.
AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka) said it was more urgent than ever to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. As the international community was increasingly confronted by the menace of terrorism, the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and related material potentially falling into the hands of violent non-State actors could result in unthinkable consequences. There was a dire need to enhance coordination efforts of national, subregional, regional and international bodies to respond to the serious challenge and threat of weapons of mass destruction. A transparent, sustainable and credible plan for multilateral nuclear disarmament was required.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons remained the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and had significantly helped to limit the horizontal proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of nuclear weapons continued to threaten humanity and billions of dollars were being spent to modernize them, despite pressing development needs and challenges. Far from securing people, nuclear weapons endangered lives. Pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, Bangladesh underscored the importance of an effective, non-discriminatory and legally binding framework for security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said any non-peaceful nuclear activity was forbidden on national territory. Brazil’s legislation clearly safeguarded the peaceful applications of sensitive and dual-use goods and items, especially in activities related to industry, research and development, and the Government promoted constant and structured outreach to inform the private sector on restrictions. Disarmament efforts were essential to any effective strategy to avoid that weapons of mass destruction could be acquired by non-State actors. While the Non-Proliferation Treaty had established the obligation to pursue nuclear disarmament “in good faith”, he expressed frustration at the absence of the necessary political will and leadership on the part of some nuclear-weapon States. The argument that security concerns hampered the objective of disarmament was a false dichotomy, as relying on nuclear deterrence doctrines and strategies undermined the medium- and long-term security of all States, he said.
HORACIO SEVILLA BORJA (Ecuador) pointed out that the Constitution specifically addressed and prohibited many aspects of weapons of mass destruction. Ecuador had a number of laws and rules to prevent the proliferation of such weapons and combat their trafficking and systems of delivery. In that context, Ecuador had met all its obligations under resolution 1540 (2004). However, the threat of proliferation was inherent in the continued existence of such weapons, particularly with regard to nuclear weapons. In that regard, nuclear disarmament was of critical importance. The States that possessed nuclear weapons had a responsibility to prevent their proliferation. Ecuador rejected any interpretation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that allowed a small group of States a monopoly that permitted them to keep nuclear weapons. For its part, Ecuador had fulfilled its international commitments, not just with talk, but with action.
AMIT HEUMANN (Israel) said that, for his country, the scale of danger posed by the combination of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction was not abstract. Israel had lived with conventional and unconditional threats for decades and the prospect of terrorism was a daily reality. Today, the world had witnessed the shocking erosion of the absolute prohibition against the use of its most horrific weapons. Nowhere was that trend more evident than in Syria, where the primary responsibility for the wide-spread use of chemical weapons lay squarely at the feet of the Assad regime. That same regime had been killing, attacking and besieging its own people, supported by Iran and its proxy Hizbullah, he said, adding that Syrian Government forces had conducted airstrikes in Aleppo just two weeks ago and was widely reported to have used chlorine gas. Such actions had created wide-spread availability of weapons of mass destruction-related material and know-how, paving the way for non-State actors to achieve those horrific capabilities. States needed the tools and infrastructure necessary to meet their commitments under resolution 1540 (2004), he said, adding that cooperation with the academic community was key. At the United Nations, there was room for increased coordination between relevant bodies. As detailed in 2004 and 2012 reports to the 1540 Committee, Israel had taken wide-ranging and practical steps aimed at curbing proliferation, including intelligence-gathering and sharing, improving border controls, developing advanced detection and identification devices, enhancing facility and relevant dual-use materials security and strengthening export controls.
LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said her country was part of a region that was free from nuclear weapons. It was committed to non-proliferation of such weapons and their delivery systems. Disarmament was essential to efforts to promote international peace, security and development. Citing Panama’s signing of the Tlatelolco Treaty and ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, chemical weapons conventions and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, among others, she said the fourth Industrial Revolution increased the risks of potential exploitation by non-State actors. Panama pledged to stop weapons of mass destruction from reaching such actors. It was developing a national plan and regulations of dual-use material, as a way to prevent chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear material from being diverted to those actors. She called for an immediate halt to recent weapons testing, noting that, in December, Panama would host a regional high-level conference on the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).
ROLANDO CASTRO CORDOBA (Costa Rica) said non-proliferation should be achieved through dialogue. While there was a ban on nuclear testing, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty had not come into effect. There had been attempts to ban the production of fissile material, but the Conference on Disarmament had been paralysed for years. There also had been numerous calls for transparency around the reduction of arsenals. While resolution 1540 (2004) obliged States to refrain from supporting non-State agents attempting to acquire or use nuclear weapons and their vectors, implementation had encountered challenges. Peace and security, as a global public good, could be achieved by respecting the Charter, especially Articles 10 and 26, she said, stressing that, as Costa Rica had no weapons of mass destruction, it had the moral authority to call for the number of States that possessed weapons of mass destruction or related technology to not increase. He urged compliance with the Charter’s Article 26, as a weapons-free world was the only way to achieve peace, security and sustainable development.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said military spending was growing at a dizzying rate. She affirmed the role of the General Assembly, citing its resolution 70/36 on the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists. Nuclear non-proliferation efforts should go hand in hand with nuclear disarmament efforts. She called for the convening of a conference as soon as possible on making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. It was vital to respect the integrity and goals of resolution 1540 (2004). Nicaragua rejected double standards on the part of countries which claimed to be in favour of non-proliferation, yet undertook war-like acts under the pretext of a war on terror. Breaking the disarmament deadlock meant resolving the question of political will on the part of certain States.
GÜVEN BEGEÇ (Turkey), associating himself with the European Union, said security policies built upon weapons of mass destruction did not guarantee the safety of any country or region, but rather increased insecurity and instability. Turkey had never intended to pursue a programme of weapons of mass destruction, and it firmly opposed the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons. Furthermore, the presence of chemical and biological weapons around its borders, by State and non-State actors alike, was a security concern. In that regard, he expressed strong support for universal adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other relevant conventions, as well as for the full and effective implementation of resolution 1540 (2004). The increased risks stemming from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of non-State actors called for more coherent and robust international cooperation. The 1540 Review Process provided a valuable opportunity to strengthen the resolution’s implementation and to address such new challenges. The Council must also send the message that the use of chemical weapons would not go unpunished.
TANMYA LAL (India) said the focus on non-State actors should not diminish State accountability in combating terrorism and dismantling support infrastructure. Primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rested at the national level, but such responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behaviour and international cooperation. The complete elimination of nuclear weapons could be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework. All States with nuclear weapons could make a contribution by engaging in meaningful dialogue, building trust and reducing the salience of such weapons in security doctrines. India’s nuclear doctrine stressed credible minimum nuclear deterrence with no first use or use against a non-nuclear-weapon State. It remained committed to a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. He stressed the essential role of the United Nations on disarmament issues, adding that progress would require a genuine commitment to multilateralism.
PETER WILSON (Australia) said non-State actors were becoming increasingly sophisticated and creative in their ability to obtain sensitive information and materials relevant to the delivery and design of weapons of mass destruction. Resolution 1540 (2004) remained the centrepiece of the international non-proliferation regime. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be supported in its central role in the global nuclear security architecture to coordinate security activities among international organizations and other initiatives. All States should access and use existing mechanisms such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which had been a pivotal instrument for informing Australia’s national approaches in the area of nuclear security, including detection capability and radiation monitoring at its border.
DO HUNG VIET (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said addressing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction must be linked to progress in disarmament. Underscoring the importance of regional nuclear-weapon-free zones and the need for nuclear-weapon States to accede to their respective protocols, he advocated the peaceful use of related technologies. Viet Nam complied fully with its obligations under all important disarmament and non-proliferation treaties. He welcomed the review of resolution 1540 (2004) and other non-proliferation commitments, noting the need for increased global cooperation to raise awareness of the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, and to strengthen developing countries’ capacity to implement their commitments by building national bases and providing technical assistance for import-export control.
MARTÍN GARCIA MORITÁN (Argentina) noted that his was the only Latin American country to adhere to five export control regimes. It was convinced that an effective export control system needed to be based on transparent and standardized licensing, compliance with laws in place and cooperation from the business community. He highlighted the ironclad commitment of Latin American and Caribbean countries to non-proliferation and the creation of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. Resolution 1540 (2004) provided an opportunity to deepen cooperation in the region. He reaffirmed Argentina’s sovereign right to develop nuclear and other technologies for peaceful purposes. At the same time, the country was working actively with the international community to bring about a world free of weapons of mass destruction.
PAWEŁ RADOMSKI (Poland), associating himself with the European Union, supported strengthening the global non-proliferation and disarmament architecture, based on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Resolution 1540 (2004) played a pivotal role by encouraging cooperation. For the last two years, Poland had reviewed its national procedures for prohibiting weapons of mass destruction, aiming to ensure reliable decision-making for detecting illegal transfers of related materials. Equally important was that all national institutions were aware of their responsibilities in such cases. Poland and Croatia had carried out a voluntary peer review of resolution 1540 (2004) national implementation. Within the Global Partnership, Poland and Ukraine had co-chaired the Chemical Security Sub-Working Group. It was important for the 1540 Committee to build closer ties with the Global Partnership and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, among others.
ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), associating himself with the European Union, said his country had joined the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004) and provided three national reports. The international community must unite against the threat of terrorist groups using chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials by increasing cooperation within the United Nations, among States and among regional and international organizations. Slovenia was committed to treaty-based nuclear disarmament and arms control, and advocated universal adherence to — and full implementation of — all non-proliferation and disarmament treaties and conventions. The best way to combat proliferation was by universalizing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said, underlining IAEA’s crucial role in finding solutions to nuclear security issues.
ANTHONY BOSAH (Nigeria) expressed deep concern about the immediate, indiscriminate and massive death and destruction that would be caused by any nuclear detonation. Nigeria was committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and regarded it as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime. Further, Nigeria recognized the right of any party to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme, he said, also stressing that efforts aimed at nuclear non-proliferation should be supported by simultaneous disarmament initiatives. The slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament was a cause for concern. The establishment of effective precautionary measures and systems to address potential nuclear, chemical or biological proliferation was the collective responsibility of all Member States, he concluded.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, looked forward to examining the review of resolution 1540 (2004). There was a common duty to ensure that no weapons of mass destruction, or related technology or trade, fell into the hands of non-State actors. Algeria also anticipated establishing a balance between the peaceful uses of development technologies, on the one hand, and protecting against their misuse on the other. The African Union common defence and security policy had outlined those objectives. Nuclear-weapon States must fulfil their disarmament commitments and allow equitable access for the peaceful use of related technologies. The path taken for chemical and biological weapons should set an example for nuclear arms and he regretted that a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East had not been established, reiterating the importance of negotiation processes and multilateral mechanisms.
ABDULLAH HALLAK (Syria), making a further statement for his delegation, said he was stupefied by the hypocrisy of Israel’s representative. Everyone knew that Israel had introduced nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism to the region. Without the support of some countries with great influence on the Council, those weapons would have disappeared long ago. He added that Israel had offered all kinds of assistance to groups in Syria including Da’esh and Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant in violation of Council resolutions. Responding to remarks by the representative of the Turkish regime, he said Islamist terrorism had come from Turkish territory. He added that tactical nuclear weapons from a nuclear country were on Turkish soil.